Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho
    Posts
    135

    Default How cold to start Queens

    This will bet first year at raising a few queens. I know the warmer the better and you must have drones. My question is, What is the coolest weather a person could have to start grafs? I will start them in 5 frame nucs and have ample bees. Our weather has cooled back down. Next week is suppose to be inid 60's for highs and mid 30's at nights. I'm just curious necaise I'm getting alote restless. The drones are flying and I chomping at the bit to get going. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks to all you more experienced beekeepers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,660

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    If you are talking about the day you do your grafting then the lowest is in the 40s. The best way is to do it
    at room temperature. So bring a warm towel with you to cover the frame and put it inside an igloo or small
    foam chest. Then bring home to graft where it is warmer inside. If this is not possible then grafting inside
    your car will do if you turn on the heater for awhile to warm up a bit.
    But if you are talking about the entire process from start to finish I would say the higher the temperature the better.
    Next week will do to start grafting because by next month the weather should be warming up more esp.
    at night time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    I'm sorry I should have been more specific. My hives are right here at my house and I can graft inside. I was wondering if the mid 60's weather was to cold for them to mate if they were to emerge before the weather warms up. Right now it is 22 degrees this morning here in Idaho. I was thinking about starting next week and experimenting with about 10-20 grafts. The weather is suppose to be in the mid 60's in the daytime and upper 30's to mid 40's at night. Just wondering if I should wait another week or so. You know how it is for a new beek, just want to try everything right now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    What's the rush? Haste makes waste. Wait a couple weeks.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,660

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    High 60s in early spring is the best time to raise queen bees. Actually you are a bit late by now compare to mine. At least a month behind because
    when the drones are flying that is when you should have the virgin queens ready for their mating flight. I have read on
    some threads that successful mating flight can take place at low 40s. It is the highs that they take their mating
    flight in the noon time anyways. So don't worry about it. When I grafted my queen cells on 3/6, my weather was just like
    yours early in the spring time. On average high upper 50s with low 20s at night. Right now more than a month later it is in the high 70s and low 40s at night. It takes exactly one month to complete the whole process of queen rearing. All 4 virgin got successfully mated and happily laying now. This is their first batch of broods that will be ready to seal in 5 more days or so.
    Lauri also has temps almost like yours in Washington. She's testing graft this week too. So I would say your spring time correspond to her
    spring time also. Do an experimental graft like her and see what is your result. I don't think you will be disappointed if you do.
    Hope this help you a little.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,978

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    Lauri also has temps almost like yours in Washington. She's testing graft this week too. So I would say your spring time correspond to her spring time also.
    It seems rather unlikely that those two locations have similar weather. Luv2beekeep is in Rupert ID at 4,157 ft elevation. Lauri is in Roy WA at 322 ft elevation!

    Both of those locations are close to 1000 miles north of Sacramento, but that does not mean their weather is similar to each other.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Marin County, California, USA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    It seems rather unlikely that those two locations have similar weather. Luv2beekeep is in Rupert ID at 4,157 ft elevation. Lauri is in Roy WA at 322 ft elevation!

    Both of those locations are close to 1000 miles north of Sacramento, but that does not mean their weather is similar to each other.
    Not to mention Laurie is on the very southern tip of Puget Sound and gets something of a marine influence whereas Luv2 is just north of The Great Salt Lake and would probably have some high desert climactic influence.
    Brian

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    You may hold off with that weather forecast...My response is not on the F nor C scales...the time to make queens is after drones are hatching and when the bee traffic at the front of the hive gets going good and busy to the nectar / pollen flow. In short, when the traffic gets thick, make queens.

    Another sign is that the brood patch gets suddenly larger, say from 4 frames up to 6 (which can happen in as little as 3 days), as scaled to however many frames of brood your bees came out of winter with, but if the flow is on and they are flying out like crazy, you don't have to wait for this to happen!

    You can also move your queen rearing calendar up earlier in the year a bit by putting your starter/finishers indoors and controlling temps and moisture somewhat (I'm considering a strawbale building for queen room, as it is well-insulated and can allow an aggressive, early calendar). Weather may delay open mating flights, but that's no big deal - happens in nature all the time. Just delay your next cycle a few days so you can tend to making nucs as necessary, unless you are checking laying patterns. The exact number of days on your queen rearing calendar varies by the beekeeper a little, generally the most experienced breeders run the shortest cycle times, as they can judge brood pattern earlier than us not-so-seasoned breeders.

    Buckfasts and AMM's and other winter-hardy breeds will often swarm earlier than Italians. Best temperatures, lowest temperatures, etc. probably vary as much as bees, locations, and beekeepers. If you have Russians, keep an eye on them. They start slow, but once they get confident spring is here, they increase like crazy, and will swarm on you before you'd expect. Watch your bees, know your bees. You will know what is right for your bees and your queen rearing operation soon enough.

    You are far enough North that I think the full 5-frame nuc with plenty of bees is a very good idea. Mini-mating nucs could be tragic if an unexpected frost came late. I like double nucs over a double-screen board on top of a strong colony for open-mated queens - things just seem to go better more often that way. Some would say it's a big waste of bee resources, but if your operation is small, that is a moot point.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 04-19-2013 at 09:35 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: How cold to start Queens

    It's more about drones and strength of hives, but by the time there are plenty of bees and drones, it's not usually cold. I've learned to go with the bees. Trying to see how early you can rear queens is not very productive use of your time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads